Philodemus: On Poems, Book 1

Paperback | April 20, 2003

EditorRichard Janko

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The On Poems by Philodemus (c.110-35 BC), the Epicurean philosopher and poet who taught Virgil and influenced Horace, is our main source for Hellenistic literary theory. In Book 1 Philodemus summarizes a survey of previously unknown poetic and aesthetic theories. Compiled by Crates of Mallosthis survey reviews the critical theories of earlier Epicureans, Peripatetics, and Stoics, who argued in some way that sound is the source of poetic excellence, and that the ear, unaided by the mind, can judge it. Philodemus led the reaction against this invasion of Hellenistic literary criticism bymusical theory, arguing that form and content are interrelated, and that substantive content, not pretty sound, is what makes poetry worthwhile. The 200 fragments of Book 1 were entirely jumbled after its discovery at the site of Vesuvius' destruction of Herculaneum. This edition reconstitutes their original sequence, according to a new method, while exploiting previously unknown manuscript sources and new techniques for reading the extantpieces. In thus restoring this important aesthetic treatise from antiquity, it makes a major addition to the corpus of classical literature.

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The On Poems by Philodemus (c.110-35 BC), the Epicurean philosopher and poet who taught Virgil and influenced Horace, is our main source for Hellenistic literary theory. In Book 1 Philodemus summarizes a survey of previously unknown poetic and aesthetic theories. Compiled by Crates of Mallosthis survey reviews the critical theories of ...

Richard Janko is Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:616 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.25 inPublished:April 20, 2003Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199262853

ISBN - 13:9780199262854

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`What we have here can almost be considered an editio princeps ... A whole new world of literary criticism is being opened up by Janko and, in time, the entire Philodemus project. Their introductions will be mined by all subsequent students of literary criticism itself and of Augustan poetryin general. Their recalcitrant texts will be consulted less often, but without the years of toil that allowed for these editions, Philodemus' contribution to the history of criticism would remain unapproeciated by all but a few classicists.'Bryn Mawr Classical Review